According to a study by scientists from the University of Linnaeus (Sweden), air passengers who frequently travel account for 50% of all carbon dioxide emissions. This is only 1% of the total number of passengers worldwide.
Frequent flyers, who represent only 1% of total traffic, accounted for half of carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, according to a study. According to scientists, airlines produced 1 billion tons of CO2 per year and received a subsidy of $ 100 billion, without compensating for the damage to the climate.
Moreover, only 11% of the world’s population flew in 2018, and 4% of them flew abroad. The largest carbon footprint is among US citizens. According to the study, their air emissions from aviation exceed those of the next 10 countries in the ranking combined. Among them are the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia.
Scientists have noticed a positive trend: in 2020, due to a 50% decrease in the number of passengers, the aviation industry has become less harmful to the environment. However, without additional measures, this figure will rise sharply after the restrictions are lifted. The researchers note that from 2013 to 2018, emissions grew by 32%, but in 2020 they were halved. The most pessimistic forecast is that the industry will return to the same level in 2024 and carbon emissions will continue to rise.
“The rich have too much freedom and can adapt the planet to their needs, harming them. We must view the current crisis as an opportunity to reduce the burden on the air transport system. The benefits of aviation are more unfairly distributed worldwide than any other major source of emissions. There is a clear risk that airlines are protecting the economic interests of wealthy people around the world for profit, ”the scientists noted.
The most active passengers cover about 56 thousand km per year – these are three very long flights or one short flight per month. On average, North Americans flew 50 times more than Africans in 2018, 10 times more than people in the Asia-Pacific region, and 7.5 times more than Hispanics. Europeans and Middle Easterners flew 25 times farther than Africans and 5 times more than Asians.
Researchers estimate the cost of climate damage in 2018 was $ 100 billion. Failure to pay to cover this damage is “a very big injustice,” scientists say. One of the measures they propose is a tax on frequent flights.